Cantabria is a region in northern Spain that’s known for its natural beauty, art and culture, and its thriving economy. It has a coastline, mountains and plains and a temperate climate. The region is also an important wine-producing area. Exploring Cantabria means discovering a wide variety of activities to keep you busy for weeks on end. In this article, we will share our Cantabria Bucket list, including the top 10 & most picturesque places to visit there.

About Cantabria

Many people consider Cantabria to be one of the most beautiful regions in Spain. It has miles of sandy beaches and rocky coastlines. The region also has numerous lakes, fjords, rivers and streams. There are several important cities in the area, such as Santander, the capital. Additionally, there are many towns and villages with stunning historic buildings. The region has so much to offer naturalists, art lovers, families and sports enthusiasts alike.

Cantabrians tend to focus their exploration of the region around their holiday agenda. There are many towns that are best visited during the summer months when tourists are visiting the area. The lakefront city of Santillana del Mar is home to La Concha beach, a favourite spot among visitors. Other summer favourites include La Quena Waterfalls and El Brocón Cave. There’s also La Cala de Mijares, a seaside resort with plenty of amenities for families. Beach goers will want to visit these sites during their holiday so they can see how much they’ve already missed out on.

Cantabria has so much to offer travelers, it’s an area full of history, art and culture, nature and sports activities. Visitors will enjoy exploring the region during their holiday so they can see how much they’ve already missed out on. Or they can plan ahead and visit during the summer months when the lakefront cities are especially lively. Either way, Cantabria has something new and fun for everyone!

When to visit Cantabria

Cantabria is an ideal place to visit any time of year. its historical sites, natural beauty, and entertainment options are unique throughout the year. Plus, its seaside resorts are particularly popular during summertime but still worth visiting year-round. Regardless of your season or reason for visiting, you’ll find something interesting about this historic region!

Cantabria Bucket List – Top 6 places to visit in Cantabria

Castro Urdiales

Castro Urdiales is one of those unexpected Spanish delights you may find on the go. Although it is possible to visit the town in half a day, we recommend spending the night strolling peacefully and enjoying its excellent gastronomy and lively nightlife. You should know that Castro Urdiales is a popular destination on the Northern Coast of Spain. If you are planning a trip to discover Cantabria or even the Basque country, take a minute to read this article. Here you will learn about the best places in Castro Urdiales so you may consider the option of visiting this hidden gem.


Santander – on the north coast of Spain – is the capital of Cantabria. It is a port city located east of Gijón and west of Bilbao with a population only of 172,000. The city with this population is very calm, not too crowded, so even with tourists it’s bare-able, the crowd has more than enough space to fill the city. This city is a combination of green mountain landscapes with white sand beaches, elegant mansions and palatial architecture with avant-garde buildings and the unmistakeable echo of its seafaring past. Santander has managed to successfully retain much history, old landmarks and monuments to the past. The city center is full of remarkable buildings, it’s worth looking up, we can admire grandiose architecture all around the city.

Santillana del Mar

Santillana del Mar is an open-air Museum kind of town. It is beautiful and full of history. Everyday there are tourists strolling on the Medieval streets and enjoying its heritage. However the town never lost its authentic local character regardless of the decades of visitors breaking its natural calmness. In this article, you will discover the best things to do in Santillana del Mar, a hidden gem in the North of Spain. 


Santillana del Mar became very popular due to Altamira Cave. The prehistoric cave called the Sistine Chapel of rock art was discovered in the 19th Century. The massive influx of visitors to the cave began to worry scientists about possible deterioration of the paintings. This used in 1979 the closure of the Altamira cave in order to preserve its valuable content. In 2001, the current Neocave, a reproduction of the original rock art cave, and the Museum allow to learn about this amazing period of human history. Nevertheless, the tourist fame of Santillana del Mar was already a fact and the notice of the rest of the assets and town heritage was already spread. 


From the second half of the 19th century, the Spanish royal family started spending their summers in Comillas, and so did large part of the Spanish nobility, whose many descendants still frequent the town every summer. As a result, Comillas left an imprint of architectural relics such as palaces and monuments designed by renowned Catalan artists in particular, i.e. Antoni Gaudí or Doménech i Montaner. From the second half of the 20th century however, southern Spain and the islands became more popular due to an increasing inclination towards sunnier destinations became attractive prospects for the rich and famous. Although the town has seen an upsurge in the last years, it still maintains its character as “the haven for the decadent and discreet aristocracy“.

San Vicente de la Barquera

San Vicente de la Barquera is a small town located in the province of Cantabria. It’s also known as Sant Vicent de la Barquesa. Throughout history, it has been a popular destination for fishermen and sea travelers. The town’s unique natural feature- a white sand bay- makes it an unforgettable place to visit.

The bay of San Vicente is an emerald-white color that’s caused by the town’s abundant sand deposits. The water in the bay is deep and calm, making it a perfect environment for many types of fishing boats. In addition, the natural aesthetic appeal of the bay makes it an ideal filming location for movies and TV shows. Many have attempted to capture the magic of San Vicente de la Barquera on paper or on screen, and all have failed. The town’s natural beauty is too pronounced to be captured through artistry.

How to get to Cantabria

By car

The easiest to arrive to Cantabria is by car. Since the area normally is not very busy, you can easily find parking places even in bigger towns and Santander as well. There are official parking lots, garages too. With Madrid, the A-67 road connects Santander, while with Bilbao your preferred road should be A-8.

By train

Santander in Cantabria is well-connected by train with all bigger cities in Spain. Book here, based on your location & ideal schedule.

By plane

Santander, the capital of Cantabria has an airport, so it’s possible to arrive from certain locations by plane as well. The airport is not very busy though, at the moment there are only 6 airlines present with different connection options: Binter, Iberia, WizzAir, Ryanair, Vueling, and Volotea.

Best experiences in Cantabria

Despite its popularity as a summer destination, Cantabria offers year-round tourism opportunities for visitors. There are many natural attractions that can’t be missed during other seasons as well. For example, autumn brings cooler temperatures and an increase in foliage activity. There’s also winter with its snowfall, ice skating and cosy boutiques for hot beverages- perfect for a cold winter day! When combined with Cantabria’s natural beauty, its various tourist activities make it an exciting place year-round!

Enjoy our discounts in Cantabria

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3 responses to “Cantabria Bucket List – Top 6 places to visit in Cantabria”

  1. Manon Avatar

    I agree, Cantabria is incredibly beautiful ❤️ but there is much more then only the coastline of Cantabria people! I live in the beautiful region of South Cantabria, in the mountains with the eagles flying right above my head, waterfalls everywhere, and where it’s quiet and peaceful and nature unspoiled. Valderredible, ‘the secret’ of Cantabria. Check it out peeps! 🙂

    1. annaczuczor Avatar

      Thanks so much for the recommendations ☺️

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